The Word of the Lord that Came to Joel Son of Pethuel (Joel 1:1) A reflection on the Book of Joel by (@minidvr)

Credit: Seed Resources

Credit: Seed Resources

Background

Joel lived and prophesied in Judah during the 8th Century BC, during the reign of King Uzziah (792-740 BC).  Little is known about his background or personal life, apart from the name of his Father, but it’s evident that he was knowledgeable about the the Land, Agriculture and was familiar with the geography of Judah and Jerusalem, the Temple and what happened there.

The Message

The name Joel literally means ‘The Lord is God’, which seems to me to be an appropriate name for a prophet, whose message was unequivocally about doom, destruction and repentance,  but also contains a message of hope, which predicts that the Kingdom of the Messiah will be established in the future (v.2:28-32).  I understand that Joel contains the most of the old testament mentions of the ‘Coming of the Lord’. (1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14).

Repentance and Forgiveness.

While reflecting on the content of this book, it struck me that ‘repentance’ features in so many places in scripture and a call to repentance is often used in our own context when either we see wrong doing, and pray that those responsible will ‘repent their sins’.  It’s also a focus of our personal lives as disciples as confession and repentance and God’s forgiveness features prominently in most of our liturgy.   There are very few services of public worship, which don’t use a form of repentance and forgiveness as a part of preparation at the start of the service, or in the case of the book of common prayer, after the Creed and Sermon.  These speak loudly to me that God’s mercy and forgiveness is unlimited, although we probably try his patience on a daily basis.   It also points to his love for us, which is prepared to forgive all transgressions as long as we repent what we’ve done.

Sacrament of the Word.

This brings me to the title of this post. Joel 1:1. “The Word of the Lord”.  Scripture is ‘the inspired, breathed word of God’.  In Anglican belief scripture is also Sacramental (Priests are Ordained to be Ministers of Word and Sacrament).  This was a concept that took some getting used too when I first became an Anglican.  The Anglican Church formally recognises two Sacraments (Baptism and the Eucharist) while Catholics have seven (Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Marriage, Confirmation, Ordination, Anointing the Sick). I grew up with just 7 sacraments, so thinking of other things as ‘sacramental’ required an adjustment of mind. Now I can think of most things as sacramental (an outward sign of inward grace).  The Church, the World, everyone that I meet.  Surely, if God has created it, than it must be Holy and hence Sacramental?   I know that there is theology to underpin all that I have come to know and to believe, but here I’m just making the connections that the Book of Joel reminds me off when reading it.  Surely, that is the gift of scripture – to know something in faith, without the evidence of our eyes or senses to prove it.

About Ernie Feasey

Anglican, Ex-Officer, trying to discern a vocation to Ordained Ministry